Monday, January 30, 2012

happy birthday to my favorite person

almost four years ago, i was flying back from sxsw and coerced the girl sitting next to you to switch seats with me. i told her i was terrified of flying and needed to sit beside to my newfound "friend" for moral support, but the truth was i just had a huge crush on you and wanted to get to know you more.  i was shocked when she actually agreed and moved back six rows to the rear of the plane into that less desirable seat.  and it was there in my new seat that a feeling came over me that i just couldn't shake.  i just knew that something was going to happen here.   and you were the first guy that i ever just knew with.

so, on your birthday jeff, i want to say:

thank you for always having something interesting to talk about (and looking so handsome when you do!)

for not only being one of the most brilliant people i know, but also for inspiring me to be more creative

 for being the comfort i need when i've had a bad day

for always being optimistic, even when i can't

 for embracing my goofy side

for emphasizing the importance of travel (and getting lost) in our lives

for always being so thoughtful

and most of all, for reminding me that we are a team

happy birthday, baby.  this year is going to be a good one.  i just know it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

in the limelight (a few of my wedding favorites)

when jeff and i were planning our wedding in north carolina, we both felt strongly that we had to have exceptional photography to capture the day.  after all, you spend all this money for this one day, right? so i went on a very detailed search to find someone who had a more journalistic approach.  enter abigail seymour.  we were beyond thrilled with our wedding photos, and the "limelight" booth really captured all the craziness of the reception.  i wasn't sure how it was going to work and worried it was going to be cheesy, but it ended up being a great way to make our guests a big part of our day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

late saturday lunch in south pas

after spending a large chunk of my saturday morning getting my hair dyed to return me back to my red roots (confession: i'm really a brunette, but in spirit i am a total red head), i met up with jeff for lunch.  usually when we decide to go out there is a brutal 15 minute negotiation about where to eat.  sometimes if i have low blood sugar i don't offer up anything, but just complain about how hungry i am and i sort of turn into this loopy, mad woman (it runs in the schwanhausser family; you should my see sister hope and i together - not pretty).

the problem is that i am one of those freaks who looks forward to eating meals every single day and to have a bad one will actually ruin my day.  it's an event for me and i've never been one of those people who can just grab a peanut butter sandwich and be done.  i need to savor it, you know?  so, we always play this game where i throw out healthier suggestions, and jeff says no, coming back with a recommendation that is complete guy food.  i'm wanting a yummy little salad with tons of fresh veggies and organic chicken (maybe even some avocado), and he wants something that will have me needing to go to the gym for the rest of the afternoon.  don't get me wrong, i love a good burger and fries, but lately i've been focusing on eating as healthy as i can, and i figure if i have a salad, i can end the meal with something sweet.

finally getting to my point -- while sitting for an hour and a half at the salon, i remembered a cafe that my acupuncturist had recommended, so when jeff showed up i jumped in the car and confidently threw out the suggestion to head to heirloom bakery.  i think he was so blown away by my decisiveness that he actually followed my haphazard directions with no complaints.

i loved the small space and the chalkboard menu
jeff's just thinking how happy he is that i made a decision

mama got her roasted chicken salad with goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and other deliciousness

jeff got his man meal

at this point, he's politely telling me to put the camera down so we can actually eat

conclusion:  all were happy!  the heirloom bakery and cafe in south pasadena is a winner.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

tiny house renovations

about a year ago, jeff and i moved to pasadena from los angeles and while the transition has been a bit harder than we thought (we realized we are more city people than suburbanites), we are so in love with our little house.  we do have friends here, but a lot are also still in la and claim our place to be so f**king far away (their words, not mine).  they can't just pop over anymore like they used to, which of course has caused jeff and i to become nesters.  i don't know how others do it, but once i'm all the way home in pasadena there is zero chance of me getting back out on the freeway and driving 40 minutes to la. i have to go straight out from work, or it's not happening (again reason why we should be living in la).  i can't complain too much though, because my sister & brother-in-law and our two adorable nieces live minutes away and that is pretty priceless.

back to my point, in the old days i would spend my some of my free time driving 15 minutes to visit girlfriends, i now spend that time looking around our house thinking "what else could i do to make this place cozier?"   of course, these are words that jeff hates, because he knows that means more work for him. 

the catalyst for this weekend's projects came from these pink tulips i bought at whole foods.

i love that they come in simple brown paper and actually have directions (that i never took the time to notice before).  maybe that's why my previous tulips have just flopped over after a day?  according to them, the secret is trimming the stems while still bound in their original paper and leaving them that way for four hours. also, here's a tip i learned from a florist:  put a penny in with your water and your tulips will last longer.  then just put these beauties in your favorite vase.

they looked so lovely in my jonathan adler vase that bayou had to take a sniff or two.

and then i started thinking "where else i could put these babies?"  the pale pink was such a pretty hue on our entry table, but the wall  behind was just too bare.  so, this led me to having jeff hang a few things -- the gold mirror and letter "j"

and i have been dying to replace this hideous light fixture in the kitchen. i mean, seriously.

having no clue how to do this, i coaxed (read begged) jeff to please help.

while he was doing this, bayou and i took a time out for a little snuggle.  i know it might look like jeff is doing all the work here, but i like to think of myself as the creative lead on this project, and of course put my producing skills to work, making sure things get done on time :)

before i debut the new light fixture, i should also tell you we added a yellow chalkboard that just makes me happy looking at it.  i don't have the before and after of the chalkboard, but we (read jeff) also repainted an old frame a co-worker had given to me (thanks ms. vay), got a piece of plywood, primed and painted it with chalkboard paint and voila:

 now we have a working "to do" list (judging from a few of these shots, i need to put photography lessons on that list)

isn't it amazing what a little inspiration (and a super handy husband) can do?

Monday, January 23, 2012

sunday brunch

i love going out to sunday brunch and it's something jeff and i just don't do enough.  i heart the idea of taking a leisurely morning, bringing along a book, or even just slowing down for a moment to talk.

after discovering my new favorite coffee place (intelligentsia) last weekend, i took jeff back this week to check out their brunch menu.  he's not a coffee drinker and actually hates any hot liquids (weird, right), but he went along for the ride.  conclusion:  they did not disappoint!

Friday, January 20, 2012


i have been a chipotle addict for years.  on nights when i just don't have it in me to cook (sadly more of those than not), this chain is top on my list.  i am obsessed with their cilantro lime rice and their latest addition of brown rice allows me to feel less guilty about adding a little sour cream into the mix.  (i'm not sure that the last point makes sense, but in my head it somehow works.)   i still think they can be a little skimpy on the meat, but that's another conversation.  anyway, i love that they use organic and family farmed ingredients when possible.  i not only feel better about the food going into my body, but i am supporting my local community.

a couple of months ago, i saw a presentation that included the video above.  chipotle teamed up with willie nelson (willie is covering coldplay's "the scientist") to produce this short film against factory farming. it's incredible how perfectly the words fit with the message being played out - a tiny bit haunting.

click on the picture above to watch the video and then maybe stop off for a burrito on your way home!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

things that are cozy

last year when november rolled around and my family started calling and asking "what do you and jeff want for christmas?" i had an answer for them.  for years (no exaggeration) i had been on the quest for the perfect duvet cover.  i had scoured my favorite sites, searched all the tj maxx & marshalls in the vicinity, browsed through dozens of catalogs -- and nothing.  we had found these ikea (read super cheap) curtains that i fell in love with a year ago, but they were patterned and clashed with almost any duvet i liked and, therefore, were not making this duvet quest easy.  but, because they were so cute and adorable, i wasn't letting them go. i would just have to find a duvet that would work.

a few months back, i found my little beauty while browsing for towels in restoration hardware. it was perfect.   it had just enough pattern to disguise any cat hair, but soft enough to make the room feel light and airy.  it was also expensive and jeff isn't as into spending money on home decor as i am.  so, instead of fighting him on it,  i knew that christmas was right around the corner and this would be the perfect remedy to the situation.

and it paid off!  this year, we got exactly what we i needed - a lot of restoration hardware gift certificates.  i even had enough to throw in this luxurious cashmere pillow and still a little extra leftover to continue sprucing up the room.  now, our room feels so relaxing and romantic.  a big thank you to all of the family members who participated in our cause!  so, without further ado, i'd like to introduce our new bedding  (please note, baxter was so thrilled that he got his model on in a few of the photos):

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

double dating

last night jeff and i went to a u of m alumni event in santa monica with erin and her michigan man, ryan.  they had imported some of ann arbor's finest -- cottage inn pizza, zingerman's brownies, stucchi's ice cream and something called chapati sauce (i still haven't figured out what that is, but somehow knew to steer clear of it).

after a couple of slices of pizza and some beer, we had covered a range of topics from books we are reading to movies we loved this year, which then led to several rounds of imitating curtis from wipe swap, and then onto one of my all-time favorite questions: what would you rather be killed by a shark or a bear? i love asking this question, because it always elicits such interesting answers.

every time we hang out with these two i laugh - and i genuinely love that.  it made me start thinking of how hard it is to find couple friends.  you may be great friends with someone, but if their significant other is kind of a bore it just doesn't work.  we've all been there before, right?

i feel like jeff and i are lucky to have so many great people in our lives, but i often feel that we don't get to see them enough.  now that there are two of us, it's far more difficult to coordinate with two more people.  nights like these make me realize that we have built a community here and i'm so grateful to have such wonderful friends.  so here's to more double dates in 2012!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

guilty pleasures

i'm about to share with you two secrets about me that i can't help:  the first is that i love the bachelor.  the second is that it isn't really a secret, because i pretty much tell everybody.  i guess i should just say that having taken my fair share of women's studies classes at chapel hill, i should be ashamed of it - but i can't help myself.  it's not only the bachelor, though. it's the bachelorette and the trashiest show of the series, bachelor pad (i can even admit this one is horrendous, but i still watch).   for those of you sex and the city fans, it is sort of like my secret single behavior.  only, instead of standing in my kitchen reading fashion magazines and eating saltines with grape jelly, twice a year, i indulge in the drama-filled dating show where no one ever stays together.  well, a few do, but let's face it, that's not why i watch.

so what draws me in?  i guess it's the psychology major in me that wants to dissect and analyze dating and relationships, or maybe it's the girl who just hopes for a happy ending. before i met jeff (read stalked jeff), i was out in that world way too long and can relate to a lot of what these women feel.  i mean this is obviously not real-life dating, but i still consider it dating at its finest.  they always go on these exotic trips and now they pretty much get to travel the world.  we honeymooned in tahiti and even stayed at the same resort where roberto proposed to ali (two things:  we absolutely did not know this in advance. i'm not THAT bad and they just broke up - again not shocking)

it's as if the entire dating ecosystem exists in one show.  there's always the crazy girl, the bitchy girl, the insecure girl who later regrets all of those times she cried on camera, the sweet, girl next door (whom is usually girl #2 who rides away in the limo in tears, thinking she was going to get proposed to that day), the girl with the tiny waist and huge boob combo, and the girl who is a little out of his league.  of course, he usually picks the girl that is out of his league and it rarely ever works out.  but, somehow it gets me everytime.  no matter if it is some lame bachelor like brad womack, i still watch.  jeff now partakes in the Monday night activity, but i just have to tune out his ongoing comments on how this guy is a douche bag, or that girl is CRAZY. 

you have to admit, guilty pleasures are so fun to have.  what are yours?

Monday, January 16, 2012

favorite golden globes moments

i love the golden globes.  every year, i set aside almost a full day to indulge in a few of my favorite things -- movies, celebrity gossip and fashion!  i know this time of year many are focused on football, but i was just never a sports girl.  so, think of this as my super bowl day.  it's kind of a big deal.  i always indulge myself in whatever i want -- sitting on the couch in my pajamas (of course, if i have guests i no doubt put a little more effort into my outfit), eating delicious NY style pizza, and usually call a girlfriend or two to discuss the dresses, cute accessories (most likely the dates) and the winners!

so, here are a few of my favorite moments from last night:

ricky gervais as host -- say what you will about the man, but i love him.  i love that he doesn't make cheesy jokes, or break out into song and dance.  i've loved him since "the office" and just find his humor to be so wrong, it's right.

michelle williams winning best actress -  i absolutely adore her.  to me, she is one of the best actresses of our generation (and let's be honest, she's not my generation.  as my boss loves to point out, i'm Gen X, NOT a millennial).  all the same, i love how she is fearless in her approach to acting and so humble about it. a friend of mine interviewed her recently and used the word luminescent to describe her. i think that might be the perfect adjective, especially in regards to her portrayal of marilyn monroe.  also, i love that she brings her bff busy phillips with her to all of the events.

homeland winning best drama series - my girlfriend erin turned me onto this show and ever since i saw it, i could not get enough of it.  i was on the edge of my seat for every episode of the series.  and thank god for it, because it was a nice follow up to the miserable season that dexter was this year.  it also brings me back to my days of living in dc.  of course, my days there revolved more around shopping, late night drinking and hanging out with my girlfriends & larrys, rather than chasing down terrorists, but that city will always hold a place in my heart.  quick fact: my sister clued me in that it's filmed in charlotte, nc.  also, don't you just love the dress claire danes was wearing?

tina fey photobombing amy poehler -- who doesn't love these two?  i am even more of a fan after reading tina fey's bossy pants.  i love that she describes raising her daughter alice to living with a drunk midget.